I am a long-time, experienced Linux user, but I am a newbie android user. I am struggling with android: it seems the OS has been dumbed down so much for regular users, that even the simplest operations are difficult or impossible to achieve.

I have an un-rooted xperia tipo. The inbuilt 2GB memory card is almost full of applications. I have purchased and added a 32GB sdcard. Apparently with the xperia tipo, it is impossible to use the added sdcard to install more applications. I thought I would at least use the 32GB sdcard as a data store, for videos and misc. files. The problem is that none of the applications have "open file..." nor "save file as..." dialogs. The TED talks application allows to download videos, but saves it in the inbuilt, 2GB card, and not on the extra card. There is no option to say where to save the files to. I checked all the mobile phones settings and none seem to apply or to have any effect.

To make this question more concrete, here is a related problem I have with the google ebook reader. I can connect the phone on my kubuntu computer, mount the extra sdcard (but not the inbuilt one!), and from my computer's command line, create directories and copy some ebooks from my computer to the cell phone. The problem is that the ebook reader does not see them. There is no "Open file..." dialog.

Is there any, better ebook reader application that I could use to open ebooks that I have transferred to my big sdcard? Is there any way to have a "open file.." dialog? Is there a way to get google ebook reader to discover the ebooks I transferred on my card?

And, if you can answer this, is there a sane way to go beyond the dumbed-down limits of the "smart"phone? Would rooting the phone help in this respect? Is it the only way? Or should I put this to the dumbed-down application themselves?

1 Answer 1


I found a partial answer to my overall problem, and a good solution to manage my ebook collection.

The key was to go back to the sources of the Spirit of Open Source software. I installed F-Droid: https://f-droid.org/ a catalogue of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform. Browsing the repository, I found some good ebook readers, including 'Cool Reader' which fairly deserves its name. The good thing is that there is an embedded file browser, so that I can now easily browse and open my collection of ebooks that I copied over from my computer to the external sdcard.

Overall, I found that the problem is the messy ecosystem of closed source, dumbed-down applications found at Google Play. From now on, F-Droid will be my first source when looking for applications for specific needs. In the best tradition of Open Source software, the applications there will certainly evolve into solutions that are friendly both to the newbies, the average users and the power users.

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